Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vouched Book & Interview! Temping is Hell by Cathy Yardley

Joining us today is Cathy Yardley, an author who stepped out of Chick Lit into the world of
Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance with her novel Temping Is Hell.
She gave us the opportunity of reading her wonderful novel and interviewing her.

Temping Is Hell
Cathy Yardley
Book #1 of the Necessary Evil series
Publication: January 20 2013 by Entangled Edge Publishing
Genre: Urban Fantasy

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Worst. Job. Ever.

Kate O'Hara can't wait until this temp assignment is over. The woman who hired her is a psychotic pageant queen, her coworkers are convicts-turned-clerks, and it's so boringly corporate it makes her skin crawl. Even her sexy-as-sin boss, famed billionaire Thomas Kestrel, isn't enticement enough to keep her there. Once she makes enough to pay off her bills, she's out. Or so she thinks...

What the hell?

Next thing she knows, she's accidentally signed over her soul. Literally. And she's discovered Thomas's real mission: to kill thirteen bad guys in one year, in order to get his—now his and Kate’s—souls back.

It's not just a job. It's a misadventure.

From learning to boost the morale of some paper-pushing demons to navigating her way through blood-red tape, Kate has to work closely with her super-hot supervisor and get her flaky act together, before somebody clocks her out—permanently!

Holy. Hell. I expected the average Paranormal Romance trope, not a delightfully exciting, very well written, and laugh-out-loud Urban Fantasy. Think: Bedazzled  with the sophisticated sexiness and secretary-esque of The Devil Meets Prada, mixed with the wit of a late night show. Then add a wide range cast of deep characters—from demons-in-disguise to a mysteriously spiritual Asian badass, sinfully sweet secretaries to red-clawed ones, a wickedly tough grandma, and a man who sold his soul and is trying to get it back.
Okay, that's not quite what I was going for. Talk about a clusterfu—. But in Temping Is Hell, those elements were seamlessly brought together.

First, Cathy Yardley has a way with words. She can give a character's personality and emotions without excessive description and "telling." With just a word or simple action, I got the feel of who the characters were and could differentiate between each within seconds. The quips and double-entendres were spot on—hilarious without being offensive or profane, mature but not over-the-top and above your head. Everything flowed naturally and seemed effortless.

Second, the characters had a unique depth to them. While a few had a comic-relief edge, each had their own inner struggles and motivations. I can't say who I loved more. The heroine, Kate O'Hara, is brains, sass, and heart, yet she has an ignorance to her that actually made her more endearing. Slim, one of the demons, was darn lovable, but he also made me nervous because, well, he's a demon. I even liked the archenemy secretary who was was a mix of the devil and an airhead. All the secondary characters were fantastic, really, and they each added to the storyline.

Thomas, the male protagonist, could've been fleshed out better, though. How does the corporate-head become so successful if he's so disorganized and has incompetent staff? Aside from that, I really liked him. He's the type of guy you'd want to go home to—funny, supportive, devoted, and sexier because of it. I love how he oozed male without being dominating.

I also appreciated how his and Kate's relationship built up. It wasn't based on simply attraction—but interaction. Their banter was fun and heart-warming. The connection was apparent, and there was romance and steamy yet tasteful smexing, but neither happened too fast and were the main focus. Temping Is Hell  balanced the line of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy.

With fascinating paranormal elements and wonderful character- and relationship-development, on top of a well-paced plot, tons of humor, and sharp writing, this book was easy to devour and love. I can't remember the last time I had so much FUN looking like a cackling, snorting, emotionally high and low loon as I read. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series and reading more of Cathy Yardley's work.

eBook provided by the author in exchange for a review.
Thank you!

Summarize your book in tweet size. 140 characters or less.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Office. J

Where did you get the idea for Temping Is Hell?
Before I was a full time writer, I spent most of my work life as either a temp or an administrative assistant, usually for big corporations. I had a few crazy, evil bosses, and a lot of fun bosses, and several interesting situations. And I thought – man, I have got to put this in a book someday! Obviously, I turned it into something a whole lot more dramatic, with soul-signing and demons and whatnot. But a lot of the initial inspiration came from my own crazy work experience.

What was the most fun part of writing it?
Writing a character that said all the things I wished I could have said when I was working. My heroine, Kate O’Hara, has no filter. She’s funny, and brave, and will openly admit that she has “impulse control issues.” She’s one of my favorite characters, hands down, to write!

What was the most challenging?
The world building was more of a challenge – this is the first urban fantasy/paranormal romance I’ve ever written, although I’ve been a huge fan of the genre for years. I was afraid I wouldn’t be up to the demands of creating a paranormal story, much less a series.

Did any of your experience with Chick Lit help you when you stepped into PNR/UF genre? Did the former influence any part of the latter?
My experience with Chick Lit helped enormously, because it’s the same voice, and a similar mindset: a humorous view of a young woman who’s trying to figure it out, and whose life sort of implodes! With Chick Lit, that usually means something like she loses her job, her boyfriend cheats on her, whatever. With PNR/UF, you can really raise the stakes. I’m excited to see just how much she’s going to be dealing with – and how she handles it.

What is your favorite type of romance to write? Slow and subtle? Love at first sight? Fairytale-like? Painfully realistic? Fun and funny?
I like fun and funny, definitely. I love a cute meet, and a slow build. I really love friends-to-lovers stories, as well.

In terms of Paranormal Romance, what do you think is overdone? What would you like to see written more often?
I wouldn’t say it’s overdone, but I am personally a little burned out by the vampire/shape shifter thing.

Temping is hell for Kate O'Hara. What would be hell for you?
Honestly, working in an office again would probably be hell for me. I’ve been setting my own hours – and enjoying my own pace – for too long to go back!

What are some of your writing quirks and habits?
I’m a compulsive plotter. I like to have an outline of all the scenes I’m going to work on before I start writing. Even if it doesn’t work to plan (and it rarely does) I need the security of a roadmap to start typing. Also, if I’m stuck, I write at a coffee house. And if I’m home, I like to write to instrumental music – the kind varies. I’ve written to classical, and I’ve written to electronica like Trent Reznor’s soundtrack for The Social Network. It depends on the book!

At the moment, are you working on another book? Could you share some info on it?
I’m currently hard at work on the sequel to Temping Is Hell. It’s called Overtime Is Hell, and it will pick up right where this one leaves off. It should come out at the end of 2013. I’m very excited!

Gah! Me too! So, how many books do you plan on being the Necessary Evil series? (*crosses fingers* Please say more than three. Please.)
The series is going to be 7 stories long, with a few novellas interspersed (not so much crucial to the arc, just fun little stories with the same characters. Possibly a little story on how Prue’s parents got together.)

Yes! I need more of the characters. More on Prue would be fantastic, and maybe ... Yagi? *nudge nudge* What are you currently reading?
I just finished Freakonomics by Stephen D. Levitt, and I re-read several of J.D. Robb’s In Death series for a book club. Her new one should be out any day! J

What books would you recommend to fans of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy—other than your book, of course. J
For sexy fun, I love Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark (IAD) series and J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. Also Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. For Urban Fantasy series (not purely romance), I love Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland series, Nicole Peeler’s Tempest series, and Seanan McGuire’s Incryptid series (the second in that one should be out soon, too!) And even though they’re not technically “romance,” I strongly recommend Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. Those are completely addictive, especially by the fourth book when the series really picks up steam. So much fun!

This or That
Bookmark or dog-ears? Bookmark.
Hardback, paperback, or digital copy? Depends. Jim Butcher – Hardback. Everything else, digital.
Coffee or tea? Coffee in the morning, tea any time after noon.
Funny or scary? Funny.
Bad boy or good boy? Funny boy. J
Paper, plastic, or reusable bag? Plastic. (I have a dog. If you have a dog, you know why plastic.)
Bread, pasta, or rice? Bread! I make my own no-knead bread – so easy, my six year old could do it, and SO YUM! I wish I’d discovered it years ago!

Interested in Temping Is Hell? Pick up a copy on
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Books on Board

Cathy Yardley

Her Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
I am a fiction addict.

I love J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts, Jim Butcher, J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, Stephen King, Jennifer Crusie, Marian Keyes, J.K. Rowling, and a slew of other authors. I have been known to stay up all night to finish a new novel. I don’t so much read as devour.

I am an out of the closet foodie.

People who follow me on Facebook can attest: I am a foodie-blog whore. Love Smitten Kitchen. Adore Pioneer Woman Cooks. Bake my own bread on a weekly basis (because the recipe is so frickin’ easy, a chimp could do it — and it tastes phenomenal. I am a walking infomercial for this bread. ) Total Top Chef freak.

I am a geekgirl.

I love the San Diego Comic-con, or “The Con” as they call it. I was part of the SCA — The Society for Creative Anachronism — and briefly sponsored my own mini army. I learned to speak some Japanese from anime. I have a near encyclopedic knowledge of character actors and obscure movies. I have been called to settle bar bets. I have a more-flirtatious-than-appropriate relationship with Excel spreadsheets. When I used to work at a day job, if I wore lipstick they assumed I was going on an interview. To this day, an entire marketing department lives in fear of my memory.

I love being an author.

Love writing. Love promoting. Love everything about it. And I love hearing from readers. Email me, anytime, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


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